CHESTERTOWN — Garry E. Clarke, of Chestertown, died on Sunday, July 3, 2016 at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center. Mr. Clarke was born March 19, 1943 in Moline, Illinois.
He received a Bachelor of Music degree, summa cum laude, from Cornell College in 1965. He graduated from Yale University with a Master of Music degree in 1968. In the fall of that year, he began teaching at Washington College in Chestertown, retiring in 2012. During his career, he taught music courses and ensembles and served for many years as chair of the department of music. He also was chair of the department of art and director of the humanities program in interim capacities.
Mr. Clarke was Dean of the College from 1977 to 1983. In the 1981-82 academic year, he served as Acting President of Washington College during the College’s bicentennial year. In 1988, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the College, the first and only time that a faculty member has been so honored. In 2009, the Garry E. Clarke Music Library was dedicated in the Gibson Arts Center at Washington College, and upon his retirement the Garry E. Clarke Music Endowment was established. One facet of that endowment is the Garry E. Clarke Performance Prize, awarded annually to an outstanding music student. Mr. Clarke won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1974, received the College’s Gold Pentagon Award in 1979, and in 1982, he received a Visitors and Governors’ Citation and an Alumni Council Citation for his work as president of Washington College.
Mr. Clarke was a pianist, playing solo recitals in the United States and in Europe. He was an accompanist and chamber musician and an opera coach for various singers, including artists formerly on the rosters of the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera, and for the New Haven (Connecticut) Opera Society. He was a composer of numerous works including opera, symphonic, chamber, vocal, piano and organ music. On a number of occasions, Mr. Clarke was a guest lecturer in music at the Easton Academy of Arts, Easton, and at the Wye Institute, Wye Mills. He was a guest artist-instructor in piano at the Neighborhood Music School, New Haven, and was a composer in the classroom for the Maryland State Department of Education. He was on a number of boards of organizations related to the arts and education. He was also a consultant for the National Association of Schools of Music. For three decades, he was a regional interviewer for Yale.
Mr. Clarke received a Carnegie Foundation Research Grant in 1964 and a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship for study at Yale in 1965. That year, he also received a fellowship from the Ford Foundation. In 1970, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Research Grant to work at Yale on the manuscripts of the American composer, Charles Ives. His edition of Ives’s “Varied Air and Variations,” co-edited with John Kirkpatrick, was published in 1971.
He was the author of “Essays on American Music,” a part of the “Contributions in American History” series of Greenwood Press, and numbers of articles and reviews for scholarly journals, including The Grove Dictionary of American Music. In 1993, his essay on the opera singer Polyna Stoska won a Council for the Advancement and Support of Education Best Articles of the Year Competition medal.
Mr. Clarke was a church musician from 1958 until 2013. Among the parishes he served as director of music were: Christ Methodist Church, Chestertown; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Centreville; Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Chestertown; and Trinity Cathedral, Easton. For many years, he was on the Commission on Liturgy and Music for the Episcopal Diocese of Easton and was a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians.
He was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, honorary music society; Omicron Delta Kappa, national college honor society; Order of Omega, fraternity honor society; and Phi Delta Theta, the national fraternity. For many years he was the faculty adviser to the Mar yland Gamma chapter of Phi Delta Theta at Washington College. He also was a member of the Washington College Society of Visitors and Governors.
Mr. Clarke married Melissa Naul on May 24, 1975. She survives him, as do two daughters, a granddaughter, and a son-in-law: Elizabeth Clarke of Easton, Catharine and Daniel Ingersoll and Eleanor Ingersoll of Lexington, Va. He was predeceased by his parents, Clarence H. Clarke and Gladys Hokinson Clarke Minteer, and by his brother, Richard K. Clarke.
A funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 16 at Emmanuel Church, Chestertown. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Garry E. Clarke Endowment, c/o Office of College Advancement, Washington College, 300 Washington Ave., Chestertown, MD 21620.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www. fhnfuneralhome.com.